Thursday, 30 April 2015

The Barefoot Earl


Timothy has been walking barefoot a lot - again- during this vacation; reminiscent, perhaps, of the Staples baronet, of Lissan in County Tyrone, who walked everywhere in his bare feet.

Except that I personally desist from this habit, in the British Isles, especially during the winter months.

I am of the belief that it toughens the souls of one's feet and exfoliates naturally.

It is fundamentally good for the feet.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Pizzeria Peperone


Timothy Belmont has abstained from the Devil's Brew today. Let us simply say that I had my fair share yesterday, here and there.

Yet again, I spent an agreeable day on El Cotillo beach. The sun shone all day.

Tonight I fancied a pizza so, having spent a few hours back at base freshening up and all that rot, I made a beeline for Pizzeria Peperone on Calle Iglesia, Corralejo.

This is a bright and cheerful little establishment run by Italians. There seems to be an established Italian community in this town.

Inside Peperone there are nine tables, robust wooden chairs in different, bold colours; blue place settings; and pictures of pizza vegetables on the walls.


ordered the garlic pizza bread, followed by a pizza with a fancy name, though including tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, artichoke, mushroom and garlic.

Timothy Belmont is a man who relishes his garlic by the bucketload. A whole clove would suffice on a pizza.

Alas, I think they sprinkle a few tiny pieces of the clove. They aren't at fault, I hasten to add.

Perhaps raw garlic in a sauce on some dish is an acquired taste: in this state it can be fiery and strong.

My meal and a soft drink came to €13.50.

The Ugly Duckling: II


Last night I enjoyed another delightful dinner at The Ugly Duckling, Corralejo, where Henrik welcomes and looks after his customers with such aplomb.

I was warmly greeted and shown to a my table, where Henrik poured me a complimentary glass of Cava.

For the benefit of those of you who haven't been following my travels, The Ugly Duckling is a very small Danish restaurant, in a little street which isn't terribly far from the port and harbour.

It has six tables inside. The menu is limited to beef tenderloin, chicken breast, and fillet of salmon; and a Danish speciality of the day.

There is a choice of about three sauces and a variety of vegetables, including potatoes served chipped, mashed or roasted.


As a starter I chose the prawns in garlic butter with sour cream and onion.

My main course comprised a perfectly cooked, boneless fillet of salmon, with bearnaise butter, mashed potato, and spinach.


I had a glass of the very good house wine.

By this stage of the proceedings the long-suffering nose-bag was bursting to capacity; nevertheless, Henrik persuaded me to have a slice of their chocolate cake.


Everything was first-rate, beautifully prepared and executed; service exceptionally good, most courteous, and cordial.

I look forward to my next visit in several days time.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Roads Scandal


The infrastructure - viz. the main streets - in Corralejo are being totally renovated for the 21st century.

They are becoming considerably more attractive for tourists, clearly a priority for Fuerteventura's economy.


The Main street in the town is taking years, literally, to complete.


However, an observer shall notice that the work is diligent, thorough and painstaking: costly blocks of stone are cut with a special saw and the result in indeed impressive.

IS IT NOT a shame that, in spite of similar endeavours on the main thoroughfares and squares of the capital city of Northern Ireland, utility companies are allowed to uproot expensive granite blocks and throw them unceremoniously in a tipper truck or skip?

Queen's Square, Belfast, is a good example.

In 2014, many months of work were ruined in a week or so by a utility company which drilled beautiful granite blocks from the ground and replaced them with Tarmac.

To my mind, this act amounted to criminal damage.

Let the contractor or sub-contractor be named and shamed.

Does the taxpayer have, or not have, a Right to know the name of the company which effectively stole the fine granite blocks at Queen's Square?

Should they not be punished, struck off future work for water, electricity, gas, telecommunication and other companies?

We elect politicians to deal with such matters.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Bombay Masala Restaurant


I spent another wonderful day on the beach, at El Cotillo, today. I've seen it busier, though. No matter.

I lunched on a mere apple, satsuma, and banana.

This light repast was more than compensated for by my meal this evening at Bombay Masala restaurant, Music Square, Corralejo.


I've been a customer here for several years and they know me now.

I'm always greeted cordially.

I took my usual table and ordered a beverage while I perused the menu.

Bombay Masala is an unpretentious, modest little place. The ambiance is quiet and simple.

There is background music, though one eats here for the good grub and charming staff.


Tonight I had the lamb Korma with onion pilau rice, accompanied by pescwari naan bread.

The lamb, unsurprisingly, melted in the mouth: it was lean and tender.

Everything was delicious indeed.

They brought me the complimentary liqueur with the bill, a reasonable €20.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Soul Barcafé

I was looking forward to a table at the bijou Soul Barcafé, Music Square, Corralejo, this evening. I fancied one of their 50 brands of gin.

Accordingly, I arrived after eight and a pretty young woman welcomed me with a menu and seat directly in view of the platform where a couple of singers were entertaining everybody.

I fancied a Tanqueray Ten, with the Nordic Blue tonic-water.

Cognizant that they are in the habit of bringing the G&T fully poured, without the option ~ personally I prefer to pour my own amount of tonic into the gin ~ I expressly told the waitress that I'd pour it myself.

She didn't seem to understand, though left me.

She returned a few minutes later with the usual drink and 100% of the tonic poured in.

I pointed this out. She left again. The barman appeared and apologised that the waitress had not understood (!).

My order duly arrived, though  the barman had given my original drink to the couple behind me, free!

I overheard this, turned round, laughed, and remarked that they'd got a good deal.

The sting in the tail was the length of time it took for them to bring me the bill.

I got the impression that my complaint, if that was what it was, caused resentment.

Resentment, despite the fact that they were clearly at fault.

I eventually had to ask for my change.

I had intended to leave a tip despite everything, though lifted the coins and put them back in my pocket.

I may or may not be back.

Friday, 24 April 2015

The Ugly Duckling


Today was fine and sunny, it transpired. After breakfast, I walked quite briskly across the town of Corralejo to a sort of shopping centre, where the Zara store is located.

Many, if not most, of the shops open at ten o'clock.

I have developed a liking for the café condensado here, a rich concoction of the cocoa bean and sweet condensed milk.

During the afternoon, I settled at a small open-air bar called Bar Soul, in Music Square, where I encountered a couple of most agreeable Irish ladies. 

We chin-wagged for three hours, by Jove. I owe them a snifter.

THIS EVENING, I dined at The Ugly Ducking, a very small Danish restaurant in Calle La Ballena, Corralejo.

In a former existence it was called Los Pepes.


The decor today is unpretentious: White ceiling and walls; vintage Danish posters; six black tables.

Cognizant that this bijou restaurant is well sought-after for a table, I emailed them a few weeks ago and reserved my place on three occasions.

I was cordially welcomed by Henrik and shown to my table.

He brought me a complimentary glass of Cava.


Having perused the menu, I opted for the Green Salad, followed by the Dish of the Day (viz. creamy pork casserole).

The salad was delicious: tossed in a mustard dressing, with pickled gherkins in a ramekin at the side.


Fresh bread came with oil and olives.

The casserole was hearty, comprising lean pork, small potatoes, vegetables and a creamy sauce.

I also had a glass of the house wine which, at €2.50, was palatable and easy-drinking.

Henrik brought me a complimentary glass of his home-made licorice vodka liqueur, rich and flavourful.

The bill amounted to just over €20.

I've reserved a table here on two more occasions, so I bade them Farewell.


Thursday, 23 April 2015

Piazza Grande


This evening I've enjoyed a simple Italian dish of macaroni in a bacon and tomato sauce. Given that I have a taste for the garlic, I requested extra, though they never realise the extent to which young Belmont craves the stuff. 

I could easily consume a few cloves of an evening.


Nevertheless, the macaroni duly arrived. I was seated outdoors, so I suppose one might describe the experience as being al fresco.

This tasty dish was served with the customary basket of toasted, sliced bread rolls or whatever.


Some sort of fancy oil came in a bottle, too; and Parmesan cheese.

By Jove, it was jolly good; especially for six or seven euros.

The native tongue at this establishment is Italian.

I'm seated beside two pretty girls and doubtless the interest is not mutual, as far as they are concerned at least.

Notwithstanding that regrettable fact, I shall enjoy my Tanqueray and linger awhile.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Avenida


I'd already consumed a few refreshers, viz. the Tanquerays, during the afternoon, so opted for the rather more salubrious agua con gas this evening at Avenida.

Avenida is a very popular local restaurant in Corralejo; though it was quiet when I darkened their door earlier this evening.

I took a table at the window and asked for the said water.

Sea-bass was one of the Specials; however, I ordered their grilled chicken, half portion.


Half portions at this establishment are normal portions at home; whereas full portions are meant for stokers, rednecks and Billy Bunter.

They brought the yummy fresh bread with alioli. Beware. Their alioli is strong. Only consume it if you like garlic. I love it.

The chicken was fine, served with lettuce, a slice of tomato, and some chips.

My meal came to a not unreasonable €6.40, so I left them a generous tip.

AT THE moment I am installed comfortably in the Bar Bouganville.

Corralejo : I

Weather still good in Northern Ireland? I'm presently installed at Corralejo, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, to be precise.

The journey here was uneventful, I'm glad to report.

I was gratified to see Ulster's celebrated Dromona butter on the shelves of the local SPAR supermarket; which I accordingly bought.

Well, readers, I can recount that I've enjoyed my fair share of Tanqueray gin already. Alas, we have no Shortcross Gin here, yet.

Today it is fine and sunny: I could get used to this. 

I wonder if I could remove to sunnier climes permanently?

I have a table reserved at The Ugly Duckling thrice, the first date being the 24th April.

Tonight I might well darken the doors of Avenida.

By the way, the special Tanqueray and Feverfew pack cost me the princely sum of €13.95. Not bad, what?

Monday, 20 April 2015

Order of St Patrick: NI List

THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS ORDER OF ST PATRICK WAS THE THIRD MOST SENIOR ORDER OF CHIVALRY IN THE UNITED KINGDOM. IT RANKED IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE MOST ANCIENT AND MOST NOBLE ORDER OF THE THISTLE


The Order of St Patrick remains technically extant.

It features in the orders of chivalry section of the Royal Family website.

The Knights listed below had connections in one form or another with Northern Ireland.


SELECTIVE LIST OF KNIGHTS OF THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS ORDER OF ST PATRICK


  • 2nd Earl of Clanbrassil 1783
  • 1st Earl of Charlemont 1783
  • 1st Earl of Ely 1783
  • 1st Marquess of Ely 1794
  • 2nd Earl of Roden 1806
  • 2nd Marquess of Ely 1807
  • 1st Earl O'Neill 1809
  • 2nd Earl of Enniskillen 1810
  • 2nd Marquess of Donegall 1821
  • 2nd Earl of Caledon 1821
  • 3rd Earl of Roden 1821
  • 2nd Earl of Charlemont 1831
  • 3rd Marquess of Downshire 1831
  • 10th Viscount Massereene 1851
  • 3rd Earl of Gosford 1855
  • 4th Marquess of Londonderry 1856
  • 3rd Marquess of Donegall 1857
  • 4th Marquess of Downshire 1859
  • 1st Marquess of Dufferin & Ava 1864
  • 2nd Baron Lurgan 1864
  • 3rd Earl of Charlemont 1865
  • 3rd Earl of Erne 1868
  • 4th Earl of Gosford 1869
  • 5th Marquess of Londonderry 1874
  • 7th Duke of Manchester 1877
  • 4th Earl of Erne 1889
  • 3rd Earl of Kilmorey 1890
  • 4th Earl of Caledon 1897
  • 4th Earl of Enniskillen 1902
  • 24th Baron de Ros 1902
  • 1st Viscount Pirrie 1909
  • 9th Earl of Shaftesbury 1911
  • 3rd Duke of Abercorn 1922
The first three appointees were founder members of the Order. 

The Most Noble James, 3rd Duke of Abercorn, KG KP PC, was the final non-royal conferral before the Order went into abeyance.

First published on the 17th March, 2011.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

The Leinster Ape

THOMAS, 2nd Baron Desmond, was nicknamed the APE, a surname thus acquired ~ being only nine months old when his father and grandfather fell at Callann, his attendants rushing out at the first astonishment excited by the intelligence, left the child alone in its cradle, when a baboon, kept in the family, took him up, and carried him to the top of the steeple of Tralee Abbey;

whence, after conveying him round the battlements, and exhibiting him to the appalled spectators, he brought him down safely, and laid him in his cradle.

From this tradition the supporters of the house of LEINSTER are said to have been adopted.

This Thomas was constituted a Lord Justice of Ireland, and captain of all Desmond, in 1295; and being of so much power, was generally styled Prince and Ruler of Munster.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Londonderry House Ball


CHARLES VILLIERS, A GREAT-GRANDSON OF THE 7TH MARQUESS AND MARCHIONESS OF LONDONDERRY, HAS SENT ME INFORMATION ABOUT A BALL HELD AT LONDONDERRY HOUSE, PARK LANE, LONDON, ON THE 23RD OCTOBER, 1959.

THE BALL WAS HELD FOR LADY MAIRI BURY'S ELDER DAUGHTER, THE HON ELIZABETH MAIRI KEPPEL [ELIZABETH, LADY SUDELEY].




 A FAMILY SETTING

THE NEXT NIGHT, a starlit night, was also a gay one in Park Lane when Lady Mairi Bury had a coming-out dance for her petite, blonde daughter, the Hon Elizabeth Keppel.

Lady Mairi, in tangerine paper-taffeta and fabulous tiara and necklace of square-cut diamonds and emeralds, stood at the top of the imposing staircase of Londonderry House - her childhood home - to receive her guests.

It was a wonderful setting for a ball, though Lady Mairi told me that she thought Elizabeth might well be the last of the Londonderry family to have a coming-out there.

In the gold-and-white ballroom the gay colours of dresses glowed softly under the chandeliers.

The young men, the Earl of Portarlington, Mr Alexander Cadogan, Mr William Lindsay-Hogg, Mr Paul Channon MP, and the Hon John Jolliffe, found that they had only to walk a few yards from the dance-floor to sit out in rooms hung with fine old paintings.

As Elizabeth is the eldest of her branch of the family, there were many relatives present:-

Her father, Viscount Bury; the Earl & Countess of Albemarle, her cousin the Hon Camilla Jessel, the Dowager Viscountess Chaplin and the Hon Walter & Mrs Keppel.

For the older generation it was an evening of memories - memories of some of the greatest pre-war parties when Prime Ministers and future Prime Ministers argued long after dinner.

The hostess on these occasions was Lady Mairi's mother, the late Dowager Marchioness of Londonderry.

  • Hon Elizabeth Anson 
  • Elizabeth Blakiston-Houston 
  • Hon Sarah Boyle 
  • Lady Elizabeth Charteris 
  • Lady Rose Chetwynd-Talbot 
  • Lady Carey Coke 
  • Lady Diana Douglas-Home 
  • Lady Anne, Lady Mary & Lady Sarah Fitzalan-Howard 
  • Belinda Guinness
    The Hon Lucinda Lambton
  • The Duke & Duchess of Abercorn 
  • The Viscount & Viscountess Allendale 
  • Lord Annaly 
  • The Earl & Countess of Antrim 
  • Mr Mark & Lady Annabel Birley 
  • Lady Perdita Blackwood 
  • Viscount Bury 
  • Marquess of Clydesdale 
  • The Earl of Dudley MC 
  • The Marchioness of Dufferin & Ava 
  • The Lord & Lady Glentoran 
  • Colonel & the Hon Mrs Grosvenor 
  • Lt-Cdr & Hon Mrs O King 
  • Raffaele, Duchess of Leinster 
  • Mr & Mrs John Profumo 
  • The Duke & Duchess of Sutherland 
  • The Lord Talbot de Malahide 
  • The Lord & Lady Wakehurst 
  • The Hon Helen Ward 
  • The Dean of Windsor & Mrs Hamilton 
  • Viscount Anson 
  • Paul Channon MP 
  • Viscount Chelsea 
  • The Marquess of Dufferin & Ava 
  • The Lord Dunleath 
  • Viscount Dunluce 
  • The Earl of Gowrie 
  • Marquess of Hamilton 
  • Lord Anthony Hamilton 
  • Viscount Jocelyn 
  • The Lord O'Neill 
  • Andrew & Gavin Perceval-Maxwell 
  • Lord Sudeley 
  • The Viscount Sudeley 
  • The Earl of Suffolk

 Londonderry arms courtesy of European Heraldry. First published in December, 2011.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry

Lord Belmont in Northern Ireland © 2011
THE MOST HONOURABLE EDITH HELEN MARCHIONESS OF LONDONDERRY DBE (1878-1959)

Lady Londonderry, whose husband was the 7th Marquess, was the daughter of Henry, 1st Viscount Chaplin.

In the image above she wears the famed Londonderry Jewels, many of which are now on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The insignia of a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is worn. 

The photograph was taken in the drawing-room of Londonderry House, with, it is believed, the large portrait of Castlereagh behind her.

Lady Londonderry was preparing to leave for the 1948 State Opening of Parliament, the first full dress State Opening since the end of the 2nd World War. 

This was to be the last State Opening for Edith Londonderry, since her husband, the 7th Marquess, died several months later.

First published in November, 2011.  Charles Villiers, a grandson of the late Lady Mairi Bury and great-grandson of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Londonderry, has kindly provided this information from his archives.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Belvoir Revisited

Belvoir's water feature in 2015

I took a brief stroll in Belvoir forest park, at Newtownbreda, County Down, this afternoon.

The river Lagan divides counties Antrim and Down here.

I'd been to Marks and Spencer's store at Forestside shopping centre.

Little remains of what was once one of the greatest estates in County Down, a seat of the Viscounts Dungannon, followed by the Bateson Baronets, Barons Deramore.

Site of former glass-houses

A visitor would be challenged to find much trace of the former demesne, except the old stable-yard, an ice-house, some remnants of walls and water features which were close to the extensive glass-houses.

There was a fountain and an ornamental stream.

Former glass-houses

Presumably the remnant red-brick walls enclosed the walled garden.

A fairly thorough job was done by the present owner in the obliteration of the great mansion-house - now the main car-park - and the parkland.

Nevertheless, a fine and beautiful forest park remains today for us all to enjoy; and for that we must be truly thankful.

3rd Baron Glentoran

THE BARONY OF GLENTORAN WAS CREATED IN 1939 FOR THE RT HON HERBERT DIXON OBE MP

The Hon Thomas Robin Valerian Dixon succeeded to the barony and baronetcy in 1995.

He was a major in the Grenadier Guards before retiring from the army in 1966 to pursue a successful career in commerce.

After serving with the Grenadier Guards from 1954 to 1966, Major Dixon joined Kodak, where he worked as a Public Relations Officer.
In 1971 he moved to the Redland Tile and Brick company in Northern Ireland, where he built up the company from small beginnings into a multi-million pound subsidiary, ultimately holding the position of Managing Director, then Chairman by the time he left the firm in 1998.
In addition to his career interests, in 1964 Major Dixon won an Olympic Gold medal in the Bobsleigh event, and a World Championship Gold in 1965.

In the same year he was appointed MBE for services to sport.

He retained his strong sporting links by, amongst other things, being President of the Jury at the 1976 Olympics, and has been President of the British Bobsleigh Association.

In 1983, he established and became the founder chairman of the Ulster Games Foundation in an attempt to bring international sporting events to Northern Ireland.

In 1987, he was appointed Chairman of the Northern Ireland Tall Ships Council, and successfully managed to bring the Cutty Sark Tall Ships Race to Belfast, an event which he then subsequently organised.

Between 1992-96, Lord Glentoran was chairman of Positively Belfast, which aimed to promote the city as a potential host city for major events.

Because of these and other significant achievements, in 1992 he was appointed CBE for services to Northern Ireland and Industry.

Between 1993 and 1995, he was Chairman of the “Growing a Green Economy” committee, which reported to the then Northern Ireland Minister, Sir Robert Atkins.

Lord Glentoran first entered the House of Lords in 1995, and from 1999 he was the Conservative Party "shadow minister" for Northern Ireland and Wales.

From 2001 to 2003, he was also a shadow minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and a member of the British-Irish Parliamentary Body.

The 3rd Baron was a representative Conservative peer in the House of Lords. 

His father, the 2nd Baron, was HM Lord-Lieutenant for the City of Belfast from 1976-85.


Lord Glentoran's seat is Drumadarragh House, near Ballyclare in County Antrim.

He has three sons: His heir, the Hon Daniel Dixon; the Hon Andrew Dixon; and the Hon Patrick Dixon.

First published in July, 2010.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Mount Stewart's Revival

3rd Marchioness of Londonderry, by Lawrence

I've spent a marvellous morning at Mount Stewart, the National Trust's property on the Ards Peninsula in County Down.

Of course it was the County Down seat of the Marquesses of Londonderry.

Today I was invited to a special preview of the mansion-house, which has been lovingly restored.


I began the day with tea and a scone in the tea-room, which has also had a major "makeover".

The sky-light on the roof makes this tea-room wonderfully bright and airy.

The Hall

I was seated beside an absolutely captivating lady who lives at Cultra, County Down. We chatted about this and that, though she intimated that she's a loyal member of the Virgin health club at Knocknagoney.

Thereafter I made my way in a stately fashion (!) under the portico and porch of the House and immediately encountered an old pal, Alan, whom I hadn't met for ages - understatement - and who volunteers with the Trust, as I do myself.


Thence I toured the principal rooms on the ground floor and was very glad to meet the staff in attendance.


There's a finely-woven carpet in the large dining-room which was especially made by Axminster, and boasts the Stewart dragon crest.


The National Trust has acquired many exquisite treasures from Lord Londonderry and his family, including valuable paintings and portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence.


The fabric of the House has been restored and beautified tastefully and skilfully by the Trust: rooms have been renovated sympathetically and in keeping with the period.


Could this monogrammed leather case have contained Edith Lady Londonderry's binoculars?


Heartiest congratulations to all the staff at The National Trust, particularly at Mount Stewart; and the teams of staff who have spent so many hours in what has clearly been a labour of Love.

The Earls Cairns: II

THE EARLDOM OF CAIRNS WAS CREATED IN 1878 FOR THE RT HON HUGH McCALMONT, BARON CAIRNS, PC, QC, LORD HIGH CHANCELLOR
 
WILLIAM CAIRNS became a merchant in Dublin, where he married firstly, in 1778, Sarah Hutchinson, of St James's parish; and secondly, in 1787, Margaret Keine, of St Mark's parish.
He died at Parkmount, in 1819, leaving issue, besides one daughter who died young,

DANIEL CAIRNS, born 1784, who became an officer in the 28th and afterwards in the 62nd Regiment, and died unmarried, at Jamaica, 1802.

In the Belfast Newsletter of October 17, 1775, both William and his eldest son John appear in a list of subscribers to a testimonial to the Rev Matthew Garnett, Vicar of Carnmoney.
 

For my references to early Belfast newspapers and some of my information as to the Gregg family, I am indebted to Mr Isaac Ward, who is probably the greatest living authority on old Belfast History. 
The Gregg family settled in Belfast in the 17th century and became prosperous in business.

In 1700, three brothers, Nathan, Thomas and John Gregg, were merchants in Belfast.

Nathan died in 1705, leaving his sons John and Thomas, then under age.

Thomas had an eldest son, Nathan, and other children, of whom probably William, of Parkmount, was one.


Nathan Gregg mentions these children in his will; also his sisters, Elizabeth, wife of James Smith, of Belfast; and Agnes, wife of John Stevenson, of County Antrim.

Book of Grants of Licenses, Dublin, in the Public Record Office, Dublin
: In both these entries, Nathan is written "Nathaniel", but undoubtedly Nathan was the name.


In the first marriage Hutchinson is given as the wife's name, but in a family bible the name is recorded Hutchins.

 

WILLIAM CAIRNS, of Parkmount, born 1789,
entered the army and became a captain in the 47th Regiment. He married, when only seventeen, Rosanna, daughter of Hugh Johnston, merchant of Belfast. During his father's lifetime he lived at Rushpark, near Carrickfergus, and also had a house in Belfast, which stood on the grounds now occupied by the Robinson & Cleaver building.
Parkmount House

After his father's death, William moved to Parkmount House, which he shortly afterwards sold to John McNeill, a banker in Belfast.

He subsequently lived at Cultra, County Down.

He married secondly, Matilda, daughter of Francis Beggs, of The Grange, Malahide, and dying at Cultra in 1844, left issue, Nathan Daniel, born 1807, who married, in 1839, Mary, daughter of Thomas Miller, of Preston. 
McNeill, of Machrihanish, who came over to Ireland about 1625 with his relatives the MacNaghtens, obtained the lands of Killoquin, County Antrim, where he settled, marrying Rose Stewart of Garry, in that County, John McNeill of Parkmount, having succeeded to a large fortune as heir of his uncle General McNeill, purchased Parkmount and a considerable estate at Craigs, County Antrim, and became a private banker in Belfast, eventually forming, with others, what is now the Northern Bank. 
His grandson sold Parkmount, which, as Belfast extended, became a particularly desirable property.

The new owner of Parkmount was the prominent Belfast merchant Sir Robert Anderson Bt, DL, Lord Mayor and High Sheriff.

The Cairns family, since the Reformation, were all Presbyterian.


The 1st Earl's great-grandfather, or some members of his family at least, seem to have conformed to the established Church (of Ireland) shortly after their move to Parkmount.

In the Belfast News-Letter, dated about 1790, there is an advertisement inserted by John
Cairns, of Parkmount, offering a reward for the recovery of his watch, which he had lost the previous Sunday between Parkmount and Carnmoney Church.

As early as 1775,
both John and his father William appear on a list of subscribers to a testimonial to the Vicar of Carnmoney; however, the History of Belfast (supplement) records that two of John's sisters were members of Rosemary Street Presbyterian Church.


First published in February, 2011.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Botanic Gardens Visit


I spent a pleasant and relaxing hour at Belfast's Botanic Gardens this afternoon.

The Ulster Museum is a "must see" for visitors to Northern Ireland, particularly Belfast.

The Gardens themselves, with the magnificent Palm House, are well worth a visit.

The Tropical Ravine is temporarily closed for major restoration work.

The Palm House, however, is open and Big Urn (top) welcomes visitors!

In the Museum, it's a joy to wander through the various galleries.

Theodosia, Countess of Clanwilliam (1743-1817)

There's an exquisite Gainsborough of Theodosia Magill, 1st Countess of Clanwilliam.

It was delightful to see so many portraits of figures that I've written articles about, or their families.

1st Earl Macartney (1737-1806)

George, 1st Earl Macartney, is on display; as is James Stewart, of Killymoon Castle, County Tyrone.

John, 1st Viscount O'Neill (1740-98)

John, 1st Viscount O'Neill (1740-98), wore a fine tricorn hat for his sitting.

James Stewart
James Stewart (1742-1821), of Killymoon Castle, County Tyrone, was MP for the county from 1801-12.


My favourite portrait by Sir John Lavery is, I think, called The Bridge at Grez.

Can any readers recognize the coat-of-arms on the silver 18th century tureen? It bears a viscount's coronet.


It might have belonged to Clotworthy Skeffington, 4th or 5th Viscount Massereene.